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  • Monday, April 15, 2024 3:21 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    In this cycle, we awarded $159,597.94 to nine organizations. Thank you to all of our volunteer panelists! We couldn't do this without you.

    And, of course, thank you to our longtime funder and partner in these grant programs, Rasmuson Foundation. The impact they have had on the arts, history, and culture fields in Alaska is immeasurable!

    The Fall cycle will open on September 9, 2024.

    If you have a time-sensitive request for AAF, the rolling deadline is now open!


    Alaska Art Fund - Cycle 1 - $18,500

    $15,000 - Sealaska Heritage Institute will commission a carved White Raven sculpture by Robert Mills, a local artist who was taught by well-known Native carvers such as Nathan Jackson and Ben Davidson. The piece will allow the organization to convey important Alaska Native tales about Raven.

    $3,500 - The Museum of the Aleutians will commission a Unangax̂ Chagudax̂ (long visor) made by Okalena Patricia "Patty" Lekanoff-Gregory. This will be their first visor by Lekanoff-Gregory, who is a master bentwood hat and visor artist.

    Collections Management Fund - Cycle 1 - $141,097.94

    $19,990.73 - The Alutiiq Museum will move its collections into a newly constructed storage vault in its basement. This project supports the safe transfer of the majority of their holdings during building renovations and provides collections care training for interns.

    $13,747.91 - The Kodiak History Museum will establish an off-site, oversized collections storage unit to make room for essential research and collections care activities in their main facility. This will prepare them for an impending larger collections move outlined in their strategic plan.

    $19,915 - Sealaska Heritage Institute will contract with a conservator to assess and preserve a naaxein. Haida weaver, Evelyn Vanderhoop, estimated it to be at least 150 years old. The design appeared on the first robe traded from the Tsimshian to the Chilkat Tlingits.

    $20,000 - The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association will contract a conservation professional to provide treatments for eight culturally significant baskets selected for an exhibition on Unangax̂ weaving techniques. The conservator will also provide training on advanced care of baskets to staff.

    $19,994 - Aunt Claudia's Dolls, A Museum will contract with a conservation professional to complete treatments on the Northern Indigenous collection and evaluate the museum in routine care & exhibit displays. The conservation professional will also train on further conservation options, and safe storage/packaging.

    $18,900 - The Anchorage Museum Association will create better access to Alaska Native cultural belongings stewarded by the Anchorage Museum by integrating information from analog accession files into their CMS and revising outdated and inappropriate language in the database.

    $2,250 - The American Bald Eagle Foundation will purchase a lifetime RavenExhibit license from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The organization has a limited license that has allowed them to introduce bioacoustics conservation to their exhibits and it became one of the most popular attractions in their museum. This grant will allow them to purchase the software for permanent display and add new bioacoustics to the program. 

    $14,500 - The Museum of the Aleutians will unbox, accession, and rehouse artifacts from the Asx̂aanax̂ Cave collection that have recently been received by the museum from The Aleut Corporation, who requested the museum assist in safeguarding their heritage.

    $12,000 - The Alaska Children's Museum will expand their pop-up museum public offerings with exhibits that provide more movement-related and construction play opportunities. 

  • Monday, February 12, 2024 1:41 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Congratulations to our second round of Access to Alaska Native Collections grant recipients! Thank you to our amazing funders—The CIRI Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation! With their support, we were able to expand the grant program this cycle and award grants to eleven artists and artist groups.

    The artists will be visiting their chosen museums through June 2024 and we look forward to hearing how the visits went.

    Squirrel Skin Cohort-Marjorie Kunaq Tahbone (Iñupiaq and Kiowa) and Merna Nasek’taq Wharton (Yup'ik) have been awarded a grant to visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North. They are members of a cohort (including Amy Topkok, Michelle Ravenmoon, and Golga Oscar) that is working together over the course of the next year to explore traditions associated with squirrel skin hide tanning and sewing. Studying historical examples of arctic ground squirrel materials will help them understand traditional designs and patterns. The museum has a wonderful collection of squirrel hide materials, including parkas, hats, and dolls that they would like to study. In addition, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has an arctic ground squirrel lab that they would like to visit to learn about the research and to visit the squirrels in the lab. They are visiting Fairbanks during the Festival of Native Arts in February, so they will also have an opportunity to see events at the festival and share about the work that they are doing with others. Grant funds will also be used to pay for a filmmaker, Alex Sallee of Inua Productions, to help record their trip.

    James Hart (Lingít) has been awarded a grant to visit the Anchorage Museum. James is a Lingít artist of the Kiks.ádi clan who works mainly within traditional Formline art. He started his art career in 2014 by completing a paddle carving class with Master Carver Wayne Price, which led James to reconnect with his Lingít culture through canoe journeys with Northtide Canoe Kwan, and practicing song and dance with Elder Paulina Phillips of the Deishú Dancers. He serves as the President of Chilkoot Indian Association and prides himself in helping develop the tribes first Language and Culture department. He plans to visit with bentwood boxes, spoons, bowls, and paddles to learn from the old masters’ pieces and help master his craft. His community has one active master carver left that can carve a totem pole and dugout canoe by himself. Visitations like this gives James the confidence to expand his skills, so that he can serve his home community. Learn more about James and his work at @lingit907 on Instagram.

    Dena Ayakaq Drake (Yup’ik/Athabascan) has been awarded a grant to visit the Alaska State Museum to study quillwork, fur sewing, and snow goggles. Dena learned the stitches for quillwork through books and videos but has never handled any quillwork in person. Among other pieces, Dena is planning to view an Athabascan wall pocket and a jacket in the collection that has quillwork stitches she’s never seen before, a seal skin hat, seal skin mittens with grass woven lining, and several snow goggles in the collection. Dena's looking forward to seeing and photographing snow goggles from all angles to get a better idea of how to start creating her own. Through this visit, Dena wants to continue to learn and share the art forms that she's exposed to within her community and to also gain more inspiration as she adorns people in a mix of modern and traditional regalia. Learn more about Dena's work at @made_by_dena_drake on Instagram.

    Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna and Paiute) has been awarded a grant to visit the Alaska State Museumwhere she will visit with Dene footwear and bags, which she has been interested in since visiting the Smithsonian Institution. At the Alaska State Museum, she plans to visit with the old three-piece pattern of tall Dene boots and make sewing patterns by measuring and possibly tracing the separate pieces of the boots. She would also like to visit various Dene bags while in collections to add to her design knowledge as she continues to create firebags for her family and community leaders. When Melissa visits with belongings, she does so with the intent to gather information from institutions to share widely with her family and sistering Ahtna villages. Currently, she runs a community studio in Dgheyey kaq’ (Anchorage, AK), and she would love to teach a workshop based on the bags she visits during this trip. Learn more about Melissa and her work at mshaginoff.comand @mshaginoff on Instagram.

    Laine Rinehart (Tlingit/Taos Pueblo) has been awarded a grant to visit the Anchorage Museum. According to Laine, "Weavers often say that it’s the old blankets or robes that are always continuing to teach them: through their warps and wefts they can see how they were constructed and through the spirits of those who wove them, they can better align themselves with the intentionality behind what it means to weave a robe." Laine’s passion has long been in teaching, and through what he learns he is able to pass this knowledge on to fellow weavers, cultural bearers, and students. He has been working in the last several years towards the revitalization of jaanwu (mountain goat) hair. During the museum visit, his intent is to research and analyze older robes in order to gain a better understanding of how warp and weft yarns were created and directly apply such techniques to his own creation of warp and weft yarns.

    Sarah Knudson (Gwich’in Athabascan) has been awarded a grant to visit the Alaska State Museumwhere she intends to visit with Athabascan beadwork in the collection to learn about different techniques and the ways in which they have changed over time. She did historical work in college on this topic, and she is interested in exploring this in a tangible way as well. Sarah is also interested in looking at different styles of moccasins – not only Athabascan, but from a lot of different regions – to explore the range of techniques that were used by different artists. She wants to improve her own artistic practice and learn a range of techniques that she can teach people when they are at different levels. She is particularly interested in beginner techniques that she can bring back to her community.

    "Kippiq" Martha Marlene Ann Nielsen (Yup’ik)has been awarded a grant to visit the Alaska State Museum to study the fish skin and gut collection. The State Museum has a large collection of fish skin and gut collection items, and gut pieces often use similar stitching to fish skin pieces, so Kippiq feels that both will benefit her continued learning of different methods of working with fish skin. Growing up in an area that subsists on sockeye salmon led to her interest in the lost art of sockeye salmon skin garments. Kippiq has been self taught in fish skin art since 2002. After learning how to preserve the fish skin, she began making earrings and hangers, which led to selling at AFN, meeting the curator at the Anchorage Museum and her first visit to the Anchorage museum. She had learned so much over the years, that she is now teaching others. Every time Kippiq visits a museum, she learns something new—often something easier and more simple to do on the fish skin than what she's taught herself, and she looks forward to learning more.

    Alisha Drabek, PhD (Sugpiaq Alutiiq) has been awarded a grant to visit the Anchorage Museum to study three types of collections in order to grow her artist’s practice and honor her Alaska Native heritage: 1) ceremonial hoop rattles, 2) dance fans, and 3) intricate dolls. She has been researching, creating, and teaching about Alutiiq cultural objects, dance, and song for decades. Having access to these Alaska Native collections will directly benefit the development of future work to make dolls, miniatures, and ceremonial rattles and fans. Alisha chose these collections to better understand traditional rattle and dance fan construction, and the art of Alaska Native doll making. Her goal is to make rattles and dance fans both for ceremonial use and within exhibit-worthy doll creations, and to share her photos, notes, creation process, and resulting art with her community. Learn more about Alisha's work on

    Helena Schmitz (Saskinax̂ and Curyung Tribe)has been awarded a grant to visit the Alaska State Museums. She is revitalizing a lost culture. While she has created fish drums, basket weaving, and iĝayasugaayax̂—a two-person kayak that has not been built since 1910—Helena’s art is not solely on one area within a culture, it is the whole culture, including the language. When Alaska Native peoples’ items are dispersed everywhere, they are unable to learn from them and successfully understand the art and the stories behind the art. Each Saskinax̂ item at a museum is critical in the entire process of revitalization. Helena is hoping to establish a list of Saskinax̂ cultural items from all around the world, and from these visits she hopes to gather more information and inspiration. Helena will be bringing her son with her to visit and learn from their ancestors' work as well. After visiting with Saskinax̂ items in the Juneau museum, she and her son will also travel to the Sitka museum to view the items on display there in preparation for potential future behind-the-scenes visits.  

    Cassandra Johnson (Inuit) has been awarded a grant to visit the Anchorage Museum where she will be visiting with the fancy Inuit parkas and other forms of protection from the outer elements. Cassandra has been a practicing artist for over 17 years studying at Mt. Edgecumbe, briefly in New York, IAIA, and in Nome, AK. She uses the raw materials and inspiration gathered from her homeland to express her creative self in drawing, painting, sculpture, jewelry and design. Looking and touching garments from the past will help her find the story that they were trying to tell with their work. She feels it is a responsibility to continue this practice to honor her ancestors and create excitement in the present youth. A custom fancy parka isn’t something you can just buy at the store. It’s a collaboration of a family’s identity and stance in the community. This is more than just dressing for the Inuit culture. For Cassandra, it’s correcting any idea that we, as a people, can just go away one stitch at a time. She also hopes to be able to teach others too how to create their own style of fancy parkas. Learn more about Cassandra and her work at @cassandra.tikasuk on Instagram. 

    The Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers (Alutiiq/Sugpiaq) have been awarded a grant to visit the Anchorage Museum where they will connect with their Ancestral objects related to dance and ceremony, including hats, clothing, beaded objects, visors, drums, and rattles. Many of their group members are well-known and experienced artists specializing in cultural arts. Alutiiq/Sugpiaq artists Hanna Sholl, Mariah Stapleton, Cassey Rowland, Bayley Rowland, Janelle Barton, and Candace Branson create and sell artwork and teach classes in their community and online. Group goals include viewing items which were sewn, woven, and carved by their Ancestors, to inspire their own work and educate others of the beauty, skill, and commitment it takes to create as their Ancestors did. They are looking to learn from their Ancestors by viewing the intricate details that only an in-person viewing experience allows. There are no Ancestral-sewn clothing objects on Kodiak Island. Members of The Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers will be able to connect with clothing items in the Anchorage Museum that were sewn by their Ancestors, providing them a special opportunity to learn from their Ancestors’ stitches and view the materials up close. Learn more about the Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers on their website or @alutiiqdancers on Facebook. (image credit: Jonathan Samson) 

    Access to Alaska Native Collections Grant Program

    This program responds to the needs of the Alaska Native artists and culture bearers for access to collections in museums by supporting research visits to museum collections storage in Alaska. As such, Alaska Native artists and culture bearers were invited to propose a visit to a participating museum’s collection that has a clear benefit to the development of their work. 

    The grant program was made possible with funding from The CIRI Foundation’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture (JWM) and the Henry Luce Foundation and was administered by Museums Alaska.

  • Sunday, February 04, 2024 8:47 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    We flew to Juneau on Tuesday, January 30 through Friday, February 2, for advocacy training and to meet with the offices of Alaska State Senators and Representatives.

    Check out our pictures on Facebook.

    What was the impetus of our fly-in? At some point in my second year as the Director of Museums Alaska, I found out museums were having following the state's Undocumented Property statute through no fault of their own. The statute is outdated.

    Newspapers are disappearing in rural communities and it's prohibitively expensive for museums to post all of the required information in the four printed notices mandated in the statute before museums can gain ownership of the property.

    We worked with collections professionals across the state and decided to request that the statute be updated to include the option to post the notices social media. We also added a requirement for museums to post all of the required identifying information about the property on a webpage. This would allow museums to link to that webpage in a shorter print notice after posting on social media.

    Representative Ashley Carrick's office was kind enough to work with us to draft the updated statute language and introduce it in HB 231.

    It is currently referred to the Judiciary and State Affairs committees.

    What else did we discuss while we were there? Since we were flying in, we decided to talk about two other issues while we were there. 

    1. Full funding of the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums (SLAM). We took the chance to let everyone know the importance of full funding of SLAM to the entire state—through the Grant-In-Aid program and the Curator of Statewide Services position.

    2. Museum Infrastructure Matching Grant Program. This is legislation that we've introduced twice before, the latest in 2015-2016 (SB 61). The purpose is to establish a infrastructure matching grant program from the state for museums—modeled after the one libraries have. We were not requesting funds, just the mechanism to award funding in the future.

    Who did we meet with? We met with a lot of people! We called every State Senator and State Representative's office and were able to schedule meetings with many of them. We ended up meeting with 47 offices out of 60:

    • Senator Click Bishop
    • Senator Matt Claman
    • Senator Forrest Dunbar
    • Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson
    • Senator Lyman Hoffman
    • Senator Shelley Hughes
    • Senator James Kaufman
    • Senator Scott Kawasaki
    • Senator Jesse Kiehl
    • Senator Robert Myers
    • Senator Donny Olson
    • Senator Bert Stedman
    • Senator Gary Stevens
    • Senator Löki Tobin
    • Senator Bill Wielechowski
    • Senator David Wilson
    • Representative Jennie Armstrong
    • Representative Ashley Carrick
    • Representative Julie Coulombe
    • Representative Maxine Dibert
    • Representative David Eastman
    • Representative Zack Fields
    • Representative Alyse Galvin
    • Representative Andrew Gray
    • Representative Cliff Groh
    • Representative Sara Hannan
    • Representative Rebecca Himschoot
    • Representative DeLena Johnson
    • Representative Craig Johnson
    • Representative Andy Josephson
    • Representative Kevin McCabe
    • Representative CJ McCormick
    • Representative Donna Mears
    • Representative Genevieve Mina
    • Representative Dan Ortiz
    • Representative Mike Prax
    • Representative George Rauscher
    • Representative Dan Saddler
    • Representative Laddie Shaw
    • Representative Will Stapp
    • Representative Andi Story
    • Representative Louise Stutes
    • Representative Jesse Sumner
    • Representative Cathy Tilton
    • Representative Frank Tomaszewski
    • Representative Sarah Vance
    • Representative Stanley Wright

    We had three meetings on January 31 (Representative Story, Representative Craig Johnson's office, and Senator Wilson), three meetings on February 2 (Representative Delena Johnson, Representative McCabe, and Senator Hughes), and 41 meetings between 8am and 4:30pm on February 1. For the most part we met in groups of two, occasionally three—though when we were quadruple or quintuple booked, we were down to one person per meeting. 

    All of our board members wanted to participate, but due to scheduling, not everyone could join us. The representatives from Museums Alaska who participated were:

    • Dixie Clough, Director
    • Ashley Bivin, Secretary
    • Bethany Buckingham Follett, President
    • Christine Carpenter, Board Director
    • Cindi Lagoudakis, Board Director
    • Patricia Relay, Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee

    Thank you to all of our board members who participated! It was a truly exhausting day of meetings and they all did an amazing job hanging in there and advocating for museums across the state!

    What did we learn? We learned so much!! 

    HB 231: The Undocumented Property Statute

    The great news: Representative Rauscher and Representative Mina immediately co-sponsored the bill, and every single person we talked to thought that the changes we wanted to make to the Undocumented Property statute made sense. They all support the changes, and, in fact, would like us to make further changes. Potential other changes:

    1. Add more options to avenues for notifications like radio spots, e-bulletins for the city, grocery store announcements, etc. 
    2. Make the seven-year waiting period shorter. 

    We may be able to make an amendment to the bill this year to make these changes. We will discuss it with Representative Carrick's office. 

    The less great news: Most people did not think the bill would pass this year because of the already overloaded legislative schedule.

    The silver lining: If it doesn't pass, we can take more time to add more notification options to the undocumented property statute, adjust the waiting period, and work on the abandoned loans statute as well.

    There were several people who were willing to work with us to reintroduce the bill next year in both the House and the Senate.

    Full Funding for SLAM

    We didn't hear objections to funding the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums at the level they are requesting, but we were asked for more information about when the last time it was fully funded (or even funded to the best level). There were also questions about past years of underfunding—how much it was underfunded and whether that began with changes in the Governor's budget or further into the process of the budget.

    Luckily, Senator Löki Tobin was very helpful and introduced us to the Legislative Finance Division. Did you know that anyone in the public can ask the Legislative Finance Division to send them historical budget data? We didn't. But now we do, and you better believe we can't wait to contact an analyst and use their services!

    With their help, we plan to follow up with all of our state legislators offices to send them historical data about the funding of the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums.

    Infrastructure Matching Grant Program

    We weren't asking for anything this legislative period. We were more so explaining the need for a matching program mechanism and we were also informing our legislators of the large amount of museums infrastructure projects that are on the horizon.

    Several offices were very helpful in letting us know some potential issues we may run into if we seek to reintroduce this bill:

    1. After the library matching program was created, rules and regulations were never created, so the program never worked as intended. This will require more advocacy with the department in charge of the program to implement the program as intended.
    2. There was also talk about an office or program created by the state to help manage the federal infrastructure funds and whether that office/program could help with museum projects.
    3. While we are not requesting funding, the department who will have to manage the program will likely request another staff person to manage the program, so our rquest will have a fiscal note attached to it.

    We will also need to do more work on our museum infrastructure project list for the state before we reintroduce the legislation to get more exact numbers and timelines for the projects.

    How do we feel about the visit? We feel great! It was wonderful to connect to so many state representatives and senators and let them know who we are and what our priorities are for museums in our state. We were met with positive and helpful feedback that will allow us to improve our advocacy messages and methods going forward. 

    While we do not have enough funding to send as many people to Juneau as we did every year, we do think that we should send one or two people as often as we can to meet with as many people as possible and keep museums on people's minds.

    We gained a lot of inspiration from this trip and will be stronger advocates for museums going forward. 

    A BIG THANK YOU! To everyone who came to hang out with us at the bowling alley despite of the snow. And thank you to the Alaska State Museum for some behind-the-scenes insights and tours. We really appreciate it!

    And a mini thank you to the car rental agency for assigning us massive jeeps, which are unsuited to the tiny downtown streets of Juneau. But, boy, when it started snowing and didn't stop right before our big meeting day, we were grateful for extreme four-wheel drive!

    A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to our two bowling champs, Sarah "Sassypants" Asper-Smith, and Ashley "Not So Crazy Cat Lady" Bivin!

    I think that covers everything, but if you have any questions, please let us know!

  • Thursday, December 07, 2023 12:38 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    The Museums Alaska Board and Director will be traveling to Juneau from January 30 to February 2 to advocate for several field wide priorities.

    We will be reaching out to organizations for support letters in the near future. To make it as easy as possible, we will provide templates that you can edit as needed.

    Our three priorities for 2024 are:

    Updating the Undocumented Property Statute

    The current undocumented property statute requires museums and cultural centers to follow outdated and expensive methods of public notifications, which prevent them from managing their collections to meet their mission.

    We have been working with Representative Carrick's office and several collections managers across the state to update the statute language to allow digital notices as an alternative to printed notices.

    The Ask

    We will ask state representatives and senators to sign on to the updated law, which will allow museums to use lower-cost, digital alternatives to publishing FIC collections information in local papers. 

    This change is essential because local papers are disappearing and using social media posts will allow museums to geo-target the appropriate audience and reach more people on a lower budget.

    Fully Fund the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums

    The Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums (SLAM) cannot fully meet the needs of the state without full funding. SLAM is a jewel in the state’s crown, caring for over 30,000 objects telling the vast history of the state. SLAM is our state’s calling card. It needs to be valued as such.

    The Ask

    Fully fund the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums. 

    Our State’s repository of knowledge and history should always be fully funded and staffed to care for and share the history, knowledge, stories, and treasures of Alaska with our residents and visitors. Fully funding SLAM will also allow them to continue to support museums across the state of Alaska with the Grant-In-Aid program—an essential source of funding for Alaska museums.

    Museums Infrastructure Matching Grant Program

    Many museums are in older buildings and our state’s cultural heritage and history is at risk unless museums renovate or construct new buildings. Recent surveys have shown that more than half of Alaska’s museums and cultural centers anticipate undertaking major capital improvement projects in the next five years. 

    We will talk to the state representatives and senators about the need for establishing a matching grant program for museum construction and major expansions in the state of Alaska, similar to the existing Library Construction Grant Program. We do not intend to ask for the program creation this year, but set the stage for a future ask.

  • Wednesday, December 06, 2023 4:22 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    We're excited to announce that we will be moving from Wild Apricot to Salesforce, which will allow us to streamline our services and communications to members. 

    Wild Apricot has been a wonderful platform for the last several years, but in order to grow, we felt like a change was required.

    How will this affect you?

    • Beginning in January 2024, we will direct people to our new membership, donations and event forms to pay for their memberships, register for events, or make a donation. 
    • We are creating a portal for our individual members' convenience to access their contact, membership, event, and donation data in case they need to make any changes to their information, request tax receipts, or check their registrations.
      • If you are an organizational member, please continue to reach out to me ( or 907-371-4348) to change your contact person or other details.
    • We are also planning to move our AAF & CMF grant applications over to Salesforce. This process probably won't be completed until the end of 2024, so in 2025, you will have a new applicant experience. As we learn more, we will let you know!
    • Since Wild Apricot is also the system we created and host our website on, we will also be building a new website that we plan to launch in Spring 2024.

    More information about why and how we came to the decision to move to Salesforce is below.

    If you are looking for a new donor and member management system, the "Who did we consider?" section may be helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

    Why did we decide to move from Wild Apricot?

    Our current Wild Apricot service term ends next June. While the system is very convenient and inexpensive considering all the tools it provides, it has also been limited. We can't track major donors, grants we apply for, soft credits for donations made through Facebook or PFD donations, or in-kind donations. If we want to grow and get a full picture of our donors, we needed more tracking options.

    We don't currently use Wild Apricot for our mass emails because if we input all of our contacts, we would be bumped to a more expensive level with no added benefits. This is why we used Mailchimp for enews and other non-member specific announcements. If we were going to pay more so we could include all of our contacts in one place, we wanted more features.

    Wild Apricot is also very limited in its reporting features, and there were a few other improvements we would have liked to see. 

    However, we weren't sure if there was a system that better fit our needs, so we decided to do some research and meet with other platforms.

    We do want to make it clear that Wild Apricot is a wonderful option for a small organization and we would recommend it for small museums who need a platform that provides a website, online store, contact database, online membership and donation capabilities, automated renewal emails to members, and mass email capabilities.  

    If you are a small museum looking for an affordable all-in-one platform, please contact us and we can talk to you about our experience with Wild Apricot. It might be an amazing platform for you!

    We are simply in a growth phase and needed a more robust platform.

    Who did we consider?

    We seriously considered four platforms:

    NeonOne - This was the platform that came in second place to Salesforce for us. NeonOne is a more sophisticated version of Wild Apricot. You can host your website on their platform with their website builder. They have all the functionality of Wild Apricot, as well as the ability to track major donors, grant tracking, create automated welcome series emails, and more robust reporting. Unfortunately, as a museum association, we have special needs, like the ability to create member-only content, which was not possible on this platform. But if you are a museum searching for a platform like Wild Apricot, I would recommend you reach out to NeonOne as well.

    Every Action (now Bonterra) - This was a third runner up. Every Action is very similar to NeonOne, but they don't have the website builder, so you would have to have your own third-party website on Wix or Wordpress or something similar. A really wonderful tool that is built in to this platform is an advocacy tool to draft template emails and social media posts that constituents can send to their representatives. This is a tool that would be very helpful to us as a museum association, but once again there was a lack of ability to create members-only content.

    Charity Engine - Charity Engine was another strong contender. They even have a built in auction tool, which no other platform had. But in the end, they were out of our price range. 

    Salesforce - After meeting with all four platforms, we ended up choosing Salesforce's Nonprofit Success Pack.

    Why did we choose Salesforce?

    We chose Salesforce because it is a highly extensible platform that will grow with us. 

    Salesforce was created as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for corporations. About a decade ago, they began building a nonprofit side of their CRM.

    Salesforce is the back-end CRM. It's a database for people—your interactions with people and their interactions with you. In Salesforce, we can track our contacts, members, donors, foundations and the grants we apply for, and major donors. We can track hard credits for donations, soft credits, and in-kind gifts. We can also track our communications—mass communications emails and personal emails.

    It also comes with robust reporting capabilities and customizable dashboards for easily accessible data reporting.

    In order to interact with our members and donors, we can purchase any number of apps to extend the abilities of the CRM. For instance, we have added an app that will allow us to take online membership payments, donations, and event registrations and track them in Salesforce. 

    We've also added an app that will allow us to create mass emails and segment our audience based on their relationships with us.

    But many of the other systems we looked at had these functionalities as well, so why choose Salesforce?

    We decided Salesforce was the best option because of these three things:

    • Salesforce has a very robust content portal that comes with the Nonprofit Success Pack. We can create a portal for our members that has on-demand courses, templates, recorded webinars, community conversation sections where people can ask and answer questions, and more. It will likely take us a year or more to create the content portal—so please don't look for it anytime soon—but this ability to host a wide variety of educational content was one of the main selling features for Salesforce.
    • Salesforce is also a grant management platform for those who give out grants. I first noticed Salesforce when I applied to the Henry Luce Foundation for the expansion of the Access to Alaska Native Collections program. My grant applicant experience through this platform was positive, so we decided to reach out to Salesforce to learn more about their system. The opportunity to have EVERYTHING we manage under one platform and one database was a real bonus. No other system we looked at had a grant management capability. 
      • Also, because Salesforce's rate scale is based on how many admin and applicant logins you need instead of the number of grant programs you are managing, the grant platform is less expensive than the one we are currently using.
    • And finally, we have room to grow. Salesforce gives all nonprofits 10 user licenses for free. We have one staff member, so even if we add staff members in the future, we will continue to pay roughly the same price for the CRM for years to come.

    What are our current costs?

    If we renewed Wild Apricot in 2024, we would pay $2,448/year. And GOSmart costs us $3,500/year for two grants programs with two cycles each.

    Our total annual cost in 2024 would be $5,948 to keep the same functionality we have now.

    How much is Salesforce costing Museums Alaska?

    We have signed a five year contract, and pay $5,589 annually for the Salesforce CRM and grant management system. This includes:

    • 10 free licenses for the CRM and content portal administration
    • $2,100/year for the grant management system
      • which includes 100 applicant logins and 1 admin login
    • $720/year for 40 member logins a month
      • for member-only content - this amount may increase after we build a member portal and more people need to log-in every month
    • $150/year to connect gmail inbox to Salesforce
      • to record important non-mass emails to Salesforce
    • $2,619/year for Premier Success Plan
      • 24/7 assistance and as-needed, one-on-one training
      • the rate is based on 30% of the total annual cost including the original cost of the free licenses
        • $1,728/year - $144/month for ten licenses
        • $630/year - $52.50/month for grant management
        • $216/year - $18/month for 40 logins
        • $45/year - $3.75/month for gmail connection

    We have also added third party apps for our specific needs:

    ~$600/year - Payments2US - allows us to take online donations, memberships, and event registrations. The original price is in AUD, so the conversion to USD will change every month, hence the "about" sign in front of the amount.

    $600/year - Campaign Monitor - allows us to send mass emails, automated email series, and segment our audience as needed.

    Sidenote: We hope to add the SoapboxEngage app in the future, so we can create advocacy messages that our community can email to their state and local representatives. This will cost about $1,188/year.

    Additional cost:

    Because our website is currently created on and hosted by Wild Apricot, we have to build a new website as well. We decided on a Wordpress website using Alaskan developer, Weber & Co. Our annual hosting cost will be $1,500.

    Total Cost and Difference:

    Our new total annual cost, with Salesforce, the two apps, and our new website is: $8,289/year.

    This is $2,341/year more than we currently pay for Wild Apricot and GOSmart, but it provides much higher functionality and room to grow.

    We are currently using our Rasmuson Foundation grant to pay for the new system, but we will move most of the costs to our general operating budget in 2025.


    While Salesforce is more expensive than Wild Apricot, it is less expensive than some of the other platforms we investigated. We see it as an investment because the added functionality will help us grow, and its highly extensible nature will allow us to remain on the platform for many years to come.

    If you have any questions about our shift to the new platform or about any of the platforms mentioned in this post, please let me know by emailing or calling me at 907-371-4348.

  • Wednesday, December 06, 2023 4:11 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Beginning in 2024, we will be requiring all AAF and CMF applicants to be organizational members of Museums Alaska. This is a new requirement.

    As much as we would like to behave a like a foundation and award grants as a free service to our field, we aren't a foundation. We're a museum association that relies on our field to sustain our operations.

    We apply to Rasmuson Foundation every three years for the AAF & CMF funding through their Tier II application. We view managing these grants as a valued partnership with Rasmuson Foundation and as an important service to our museum community. But we can't continue to provide these grants without buy-in from the museums who benefit from them. 

    Most of our applicants are members, and we thank you for your support over the years!

    It is our hope that even with our recent increase in membership rates, our rates are low enough that requiring membership will not be too much of a burden on prospective applicants. 

    If you do foresee an issue with this new requirement, please let us know by contacting Dixie at or 907-371-4348.

  • Wednesday, December 06, 2023 4:07 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    We haven’t raised our rates since 2015, but with the rising cost of doing business, we have made the difficult decision to raise them next year. 

    Our new membership levels and rates beginning in January 2024 will be:

    • Student: $0
    • Emerging Museum Professional (EMP): $25
    • Individual: $50, $100, $150, or $500
    • Organization - Budget Under $50,000: $50
    • Organization - Budget Under $100,000: $75
    • Organization - Budget Under $250,000: $150
    • Organization - Budget Over $250,000: $250

    If there is a budgetary issue with the rate increase next year, we want to work with you, so we don't lose you as a member.

    You can email me at or call me at 907-371-4348, with any concerns about the new membership rates.

    If you are a current member and haven't already received a call, a board member or I will be reaching out over the next two weeks to get your feedback on the rates and ask a few questions about how we can improve our services.

    Thank you to all of our members! We look forward to meeting your needs in 2024 and beyond!

  • Thursday, November 30, 2023 4:03 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Thank you to the panels for all of your hard work in reviewing the applications. We appreciate you volunteering your time and expertise to the grant review. We couldn't do it without you!

    And a huge thank you to Rasmuson Foundation for their 20th year of funding our AAF grants and their 10th year of funding our CMF grants.

    In this round, we awarded $163,813.19 to twelve museums and cultural organizations across Alaska through the AAF and CMF grants.

    Without further ado, congratulations to the following grant recipients:

    Collections Management Fund (CMF) - Round 2 Grants - $122,613.19

    • $8,404.33 - The Sheldon Jackson Museum will bring in Yup'ik culture bearer Chuna McIntyre and State conservator Ellen Carrlee to advise on how to best address bead disease in Yup'ik material in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way.
    • $20,000 - The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center will retain an exhibits expert to review the existing offerings, engage with partners of the facility on their needs and expectations of the exhibits, and facilitate community feedback so that an exhibits plan can be developed to update outdated exhibitions.
    • $6,588.86 - The Kodiak Maritime Museum, with the help of the Kodiak History Museum, will photograph, pack, and move Kodiak Maritime Museum’s Uganik Cannery Collection to new storage space, and monitor the new space.
    • $19,994.02 - Ketchikan Museums will improve collections storage at the Tongass Historical Museum by purchasing two storage cabinets for textiles.
    • $14,920 - The Bristol Bay Historical Society will complete a collections assessment and rehousing project which aims to sort, group, catalog, store, and engage their tribal and community residents in the society's collection to increase stability, access, and contextual knowledge.
    • $20,000 - The Alaska Native Heritage Center will support off-site storage of critically important cultural objects for the Alaska Native community amidst a renovation project that is improving the existing storage spaces and main exhibition space at ANHC.
    • $15,682 - The Fairbanks Children's Museum will improve their exhibits and collections storage that serve their camps and class attendees.
    • $11,500 - The Jensen-Olson Arboretum will update their plant collection database by funding a project-based contractor, and purchase collections software and equipment to support the work.
    • $5,523.98 - The Alaska Jewish Museum will catalog new museum acquisitions such as books, photos and artifacts into Past Perfect; box and shelve newly acquired historical artifacts and photos for the archives room; and add documents to their print history files.

    Alaska Art Fund (AAF) - Round 2 Grants - $41,200

    • $15,500 - The Alutiiq Museum will commission a set of 11 watercolor paintings of Alutiiq ancestors from Alutiiq artist Cheryl Lacy. These paintings will be inspired and informed by historic watercolors of Alutiiq people painted by Russian artist Mikhail Tikhanov in 1818. Lacy will reinterpret the paintings, capturing portraits of early 19th-century Kodiak Islanders in a way that celebrates each person in a fresh, decolonizing style.
    • $11,000 - The University of Alaska Museum of the North will purchase two masks carved by artist Kathleen Carlo-Kendall, Love on the Other Side and Enaa, Enaa, which will join earlier Carlo-Kendall masks in their collection, allowing the museum to demonstrate the evolution of the artist.
    • $7,500 - Ketchikan Museums will purchase DaKl’aweidi (2023), a vest made by Tlingit artist Christy Ruby composed entirely of legally harvested sea otter fur from the Ketchikan area. Christy Ruby is an artist not currently represented in the collection and her vest is applicable to three categories of collecting priorities: Social History (especially women’s and Indigenous history), Outlying Areas (her hunting territory spans from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales), and Culture and Art (harvesting and endangered materials).
    • $4,700 - Ketchikan Museums will purchase two pieces of engraved silver jewelry from local master artist, Norman Jackson. The purchase will increase the limited number of engraved silver objects in their collection—none by a Tlingit artist, nor any from a Ketchikan artist. These pieces are by a Tlingit artist who is also from Ketchikan, allowing the museum to improve their collection representation in multiple ways.
    • $2,500 - The Alaska State Museum will purchase The Extinguishing by Gail Priday to improve their collection through the unique subject matter, by adding a prominent Alaskan artist to their collection, and by representing art created during this time period.
    Congratulations to everyone on their successful grant applications! We can’t wait to see the progress.
          • Sunday, October 01, 2023 10:17 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

            We presented three awards this year at our Annual Meeting on September 20, 2023!


            The first award presented at our Annual Meeting was for the Award for Excellence in the FieldNominations for the Award for Excellence are made for exceptional exhibits, collections care, planning, marketing, publications, significant improvements to physical plant, conservation, etc.

            This year's awardee is Faith Revell, Curator of Education and Public Programs, Valdez Museum and Historical Archive! Patty Relay presented the award:

            "In 2011, I hired Faith Revell as the Valdez Museum & Historical Archives first Curator of Education & Public Programs. Since that time, Faith has embraced the role of Community Connector. In addition to working with the schools to bring students to the Museum, she collaborated with local agencies like Valdez Adventure Alliance, the public radio station, artists, the senior center, scholars, historians and the fisheries just to name a few. As her former supervisor, I would say Faith spearheaded a culture of inclusivity welcoming all to the Museum as well as embracing the philosophy that the whole community is part of the Museum. 

            I also have some statements from community members that I'd like to share:

            Beverly Colapietro stated, "Ms. Revell is truly an outstanding educator and connector of people. Her level of commitment to excellence in every program she touches has helped make our local museum a genuinely enlightening experience for locals and out-of-town guests."

            Kent Runion lent his support for Faith, saying, "Faith is a frequent guest and contributor to my Alaska History courses at Valdez High School. I rely on her expertise to help students interpret primary sources and artifacts and learn how to study history. Using hands-on examples, students are able to see how historical interpretation is done and they leave her class aware that history is not just something in a textbook."

            Sharry Miller sings Faith's praises with the following, "Faith has been a tireless proponent of arts education at the museum in ways that involve community members of all ages. My daughter and I have participated in numerous art workshops Faith has taught herself, as well as ones she coordinated with visiting artists. She is always an energetic, engaging, and enthusiastic workshop instructor and host. Additionally, I have attended and presented at Tuesday Nite History Talks, unfailingly fun and intellectually stimulating opportunities."

            Lanette Oliver added, "For more than a year Faith worked with elementary teachers to create an entire historical unit with interactive activities, literally taking the museum to the students. Additionally, Faith started the 12 Free Days of Christmas. All these activities engage the community with each other, and create a legacy and long-term impact, as many of the students then convince their families to continue regular visits to the museum."

            Thank you, Faith, for all of your excellent work at the Valdez Museum and Historical Archives."


            We have a new award this year. We received several nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award and both were extremely worthy. Our next awardee is still very active in the field, so we have decided to award her our Midnight Sun Award! The Midnight Sun Award is an award that may be awarded for extraordinary achievements.

            Our very first Midnight Sun Awardee is CJ Jones, consultant and former executive director of the Haines Sheldon Museum! Bethany Buckingham Follett presented the award:

            "CJ served for 21 years as director of the Sheldon Museum in Haines and has served on the Haines Volunteer Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT2 since 1983. She has instructed many emergency preparedness courses and drills and worked in law enforcement. In 2016 CJ served as interim director of the Museum of the Aleutians and recently came back to the Haines Sheldon Museum to help with their reaccreditation process.

            CJ has been a quiet, kind, and passionate leader in our field for decades - always promoting our work and its purpose. She has lobbied in Juneau for our museums and cultural institutions.  CJ is always ready to help and go where she is needed, anywhere in the state.  Every time I talk with CJ or see her in passing at various activities and events I always learn something new about her experiences. and CJ always has a bit of knowledge and information to impart to me that helps me move forward in my own museum and emergency preparedness work.  I am sure each of you have your own adventures with CJ, and if not, no worries, I am sure she will be there to assist you when you need it or least expect it.  

            We look forward to her continued contributions to the field in the coming years because she doesn't seem to be slowing down. 

            Congratulations, CJ, on setting the bar for this first Midnight Sun Award for extraordinary achievements.  Thank you for all you've done for our field!"


            And our final award of the year is for our Award in Honor of Lifetime AchievementNominations for the Award in Honor of Lifetime Achievement recognize the contributions of an individual over a career. 

            Our Lifetime Achievement awardee is Sue Deyoe, former executive director of Talkeetna Historical Society! Christine Carpenter presented the award:

            "When Sue was hired by the Talkeetna Historical Society, the museum was on the verge of folding. With Sue's guidance and vision, not to mention tenacity and passion, she has brought the museum to be a much loved part of the community. Under Sue's tenure, the museum was able to start an endowment; develop a master plan for the many historic buildings owned by the museum in town; install a walking tour; foster an excellent working relationship with the National Park Service; and create a thriving year-round tour program. After many years of service, Sue retired this year, and I think it would be remiss to not acknowledge her dedication to the historical society, museum, Talkeetna community, and Alaska museum field."

            Thank you to all of our nominators, nominees, and awardees! You all do and have done so much to improve the field and lives of those in your communities. We are lucky to have such wonderful colleagues!

          • Sunday, October 01, 2023 9:58 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

            Thank you to all of our members who voted! And welcome to our new and returning board members!

            SARA HAY

            Sara Hay became an active member of Museums Alaska upon moving to the state in January 2020. Sara holds an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State and has worked for a wide range of museums and archives, from house museums to the National Park Service, for over 15 years. Her focus is on collections and mainly registration. During Sara’s time with the NPS, she completed inventories, reviewed ownership documents and accession files, created various plans and standardization procedures, and completed collection management tasks for both natural and cultural resource collections. Currently in the Museums Alaska organization, Sara has volunteered to be on a grant review committee and to serve on the conference committee. Sara hopes that her wide range of museum experience would be a benefit to the Museums Alaska board and that her current non-affiliation with an Alaska museum would bring an impartial voice to the group while providing her with the opportunity to serve Alaskan museums. 

            Sara Hay will begin her three-year term on November 1. 


            Cindi Lagoudakis' focus on arts and culture, tourism and economic development, and philanthropy have led to travels throughout Alaska for work and pleasure. She has served as board member and presenter for the Petersburg Arts Council, founding member and first Chair of the Petersburg Community Foundation, past board member and then Director of the Clausen Memorial Museum, was a member of the Alaska Folk Festival board, and as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Alaska, helping foster connections to our communities, their inhabitants and their stories. Cindi shares her love of the arts across miles, with young and old alike. As a mixed media artist with a special interest in printmaking, she has curated and participated in group and solo exhibitions from Ketchikan to Fairbanks, most recently serving an instructor for Artfest 2023 in Yakutat. Her artwork and photography appears in various Alaskan publications, collections, websites and installations.

            Cindi Lagoudakis will complete Kelly Gwynn's last year. She will begin her one-year term on November 1. 

            We also have two returning board members. This year, both Christine and Ashley completed the final years of former board members who left one year early. They have both have been elected for their first three-year terms.  


            Christine Carpenter is passionate about museums and has been honored to serve on the Museums Alaska board for the past year. As a designer, artist, and project manager, Christine uses her skills to work collaboratively with museums to find opportunities and limit challenges. After completing her MFA in Museum Exhibition Planning & Design, she relocated to Juneau to work with ExhibitAK, an exhibit design firm. She also maintains her own company, Liaise Studio: a design and art practice. Christine uses design and art as a tool to communicate and distill the world around us. In collaboration with the communities she serves, she has designed exhibits, websites, interpretive panels, and master plans all over the state. After more than 10 years of working with museums across Alaska, Christine is in a unique position to serve on the Museums Alaska board: she understands the broad needs and opportunities of Alaskan museums. She would be honored to continue to support museums in this capacity.

            Christine Carpenter will begin her three-year term on November 1. 

            ASHLEY BIVIN

            Ashley Bivin is the Museum Director with the Cordova Historical Museum. As a young museum professional herself, she is passionate about helping other emerging museum professionals (EMPS) in Alaska excel in this field. Since September of 2021, she has been working with Museums Alaska to host monthly Alaska EMP Meet and Skill Shares. She has a variety of experience in museum and archive collection management working with organizations such as the American Bald Eagle Foundation, Sinclair Research Center, Saint Louis Science Center, and the Madison County History Museum & Archive. She also spent 2 years working in museum education with the Bettendorf Family Museum and the Butterworth Center & Deere-Wiman House. Ashley has a B.S. in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a M.A. in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University- Quad Cities. She spends her free time exploring Cordova and relaxing with her 2 cats.

            Ashley Bivin will begin her three-year term on November 1. 

            We look forward to working with our new board members!

            We also wanted to take a moment to thank our departing board members. Selena Ortega-Chiolero has been with us for the past six years—serving on a variety of committees, as well as serving as our Secretary and later President. And Kelly has been a wonderful board member over the past two years serving on our CMF panel and on several committees. We will miss both of them!

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          Thank you to Rasmuson Foundation for their generous support of Museums Alaska and the entire museum field.

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